CHENNAI: Nearly two years ago after an authority meeting of Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) recommended the promotion of an official from assistant planner to deputy planner, it has not been done so, resulting in the official approaching the Madras HC. Assistant Planner R Shivakumar was recommended for promotion as there has been no direct recruitment for the last 40 years; the post has always been filled by promotion from the cadre of assistant planner.
According to information available, in the feeder cadre of Assistant Planner, there are 23 individuals as on date including the official. However, no one, except the official, possessed the required educational qualifications. As per the Approved service Regulations of the year 1980, promotion from one category to another could be considered if the individual has put in a minimum of 2 years in the feeder post.
Since CMDA found him eligible, it recommended him for the post of deputy planner. The authority meeting held under former deputy chief minister O Pannerselvam gave approval pending finance department approval, which raised some queries during the meeting. The file was sent to the Finance department, which raised a set of 15 queries and it was answered by then member secretary who forwarded it to then housing secretary, who after scrutinising it forwarded it to the finance department again. The then finance secretary gave his approval but raised queries over the relaxation given by CMDA in other cases. Interestingly, this was the only file that was sent to the finance department as usually promotions were cleared by CMDA itself.
After the Finance department's approval, the file was cleared by the deputy chief minister prior to the announcement of assembly elections. While other files pertaining to promotions were cleared, this file was put on cold storage, despite Shivakumar reaching out to Chief Minister's cell with his grievances to clear the file at the earliest since it was pending for more than a year. It was learnt that the Chief Minister's grievance cell sought information on the file on August 25, 2021. The reply is still pending.
Meanwhile, the present housing secretary after going through the file sought a query from CMDA on why direct recruitment was not held in selecting deputy planner. The CMDA failed to answer the query. This resulted in the file being put on cold storage. The employee after losing out all grievance redressal mechanisms has now approached the Madras High Court. Justice V Parthiban on January 4 has ordered CMDA to file a counter and listed the case on February 17, 2022.
When Express approached a top housing department official, he said that relaxations are given only once and in this case, this was relaxed twice. But according to the information available, relaxations have been given two to three times in many cases. There is no specific rule or government order over relaxation. Interestingly, if there is any ambiguity in the approved service rule, then draft service rule 1992 can be followed as per the government letter dated March 27, 2007.
But when the previous authority, including the finance secretary, cleared the file after scrutinising it, denying a promotion is putting the entire CMDA and housing department machinery under question. Sources said that it also pushes the need for a vice-chairman of CMDA so that check and balance are maintained.
No recruitment for 40 yrs
R Shivakumar was recommended for promotion to the deputy planner post as there was no direct recruitment to the post for the last 40 years.